Alphabetical Index of First Second

What Unites Us: The Graphic Novel

What Unites Us: The Graphic Novel is an adaptation by Tim Foley of Dan Rather’s best-selling prose book (written with Elliot Kirschner). Since the appeal of the comic format was recognized by larger, more traditional publishers, resulting in the graphic novel boom, there have been any number of non-fiction comics released. Some of them focus on education to the exclusion of anything else. That makes for dry, unappealing works that don’t take full advantage of the medium, or worse, illustrated […]

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Science Comics: Birds of Prey: Terrifying Talons

Joe Flood is no stranger to terrifying installments of the Science Comics series, having previously authored Sharks and illustrated Dinosaurs. Science Comics: Birds of Prey: Terrifying Talons focuses on raptors, including eagles, hawks, vultures, and falcons. I was drawn in immediately, thanks to the viewpoint character of a squirrel frightened by a bird show at a renaissance faire. The animal’s interest and self-preservation were appealing, as well as cute. What kept me involved, though, were the glorious following pages showing […]

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Lucy in the Sky

It’s 2012, and 12-year-old Lucy is coping with seventh grade. Her mother travels the world, and her grandmother is undergoing treatment for cancer. Her friend Vanessa is worried about which boys like her, and her friend Rupa is being pressured by her parents to overachieve and set her future already. Lucy in the Sky, written by Kiara Brinkman and illustrated by Sean Chiki, is a year in the life of an uncertain young woman who loves music. She’s a drummer, […]

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Science Comics: Spiders: Worldwide Web

It’s rare for the Science Comics line to have a misstep. Most of their books are both entertaining and wildly informative, with a ton of facts woven into a story. It’s that combination that makes learning easy. Unfortunately, story is where Science Comics: Spiders: Worldwide Web falls down, as the book by Tait Howard is mostly an overwhelming list of facts. There’s no space to give the reader a chance to understand or remember what they’re being shown. The balance […]

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Maker Comics: Build a Robot!

I was curious to see what kinds of projects we’d find in Maker Comics: Build a Robot!, as the subject is a bit more ambitious and unusual than the other comics in the line. Many people think they could, with a little guidance, plant a garden or bake cookies or draw a comic, but few people think about building their own robot. The projects in this book, though, seem very achievable and, as a bonus, serve as an excellent introduction […]

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Maker Comics: Create a Costume!

Create a Costume! is another outstanding entry in the Maker Comics line. Kids these days want to dress up for conventions and other gatherings, and the emphasis here is very much encouraging do-it-yourself. Guided by the Costume Critter, a hamster in a hat and cape, Bea and Parker learn how to decorate, modify, and repurpose secondhand clothes into outfits that can be used for a magical girl or boy a witch or wizard a space traveller a superhero (including a […]

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Stuck Rubber Baby 25th Anniversary Edition

Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby, I have no doubt, has changed lives. It changed mine. It’s the semi-autobiographical story of Toland Polk, a young man hiding from his homosexuality in the southern US in the 1960s, as the civil rights movement becomes more important. Toland is raised by well-meaning racists, but he hangs out with people more on the fringes, dating a politicized folk singer and going to parties with a gay former sailor and a drag queen and people […]

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Tillie Walden Needs an Editor: Spinning and On a Sunbeam

Two Tillie Walden books have been holding down the edge of my to-do stack table for years now. And they work well in that function, as Spinning (2017) is just under 400 pages, and On a Sunbeam (2018) is over 540! These are bricks of books, is what I’m saying. Walden does gorgeous art, spare and thought-provoking and expressive, in a variety of genres. Spinning is an autobiography, the story of her time as a teenage figure skating competitor and […]

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